The Reflection Pool

What Kind of Educator are You and Does it Matter?

I loved doing personality quizzes in magazines as a teenager.  My sister and I circled the multiple choices carefully and then checked the key to find out about our fashion personalities or what kind of friends we were. I know I’m not alone – I see lots of funky quizzes posted on Facebook.

It’s not just in our personal lives. There are also many work related personality tests: Myers-Briggs, True Colours, 4Di. People have mixed feelings about these. I’ve seen discomfort (sometimes manifesting in eye rolling), but also anticipation to see what might be revealed.

Photo Credit: Oberazzi via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Oberazzi via Compfight cc

When I saw a recent article at The Guardian shared by Doug Peterson titled “What Type of Teacher are You?” I had to read it. It talks about four types of teachers: idealists, practitioners, rationalists and moderates. Although I see elements of myself in all four, I am definitely a practitioner. I want to contribute to the development of people around me, and I want to keep learning.

Do we really need these kinds of articles? Are they useful?

I think yes. They’re all designed to lead to greater personal understanding. They promote honest reflection if you let them. If I’m a practitioner, it gives me insight into myself but also into others who are not oriented in the same way.  It reminds me that everyone comes at things from their unique perspective informed by their own experiences.

When it really comes down to it, I just want to be the kind of educator who is honest, who cares, and who adds value to others’ experiences. If I can hold to that, I would consider myself the best kind. What about you?

4 thoughts on “What Kind of Educator are You and Does it Matter?

  1. I’m a practitioner too, Sue, and I agree with your final statement. I’d also say that I want to be an educator who makes a difference in the lives of kids. I recently saw a video, as part of a course, that focuses on the idea that “every child needs a champion.” What a great message to remember, no matter what our position in education may be. Thanks for making me think about this!


  2. Smiling a bit here, Sue. I’ll confess to doing a lot of those quizzes and there are times that I consider then a little indulgence in fantasy. I seldom totally agree with the results but I do enjoy reading all the descriptors. I see many people that I know in just about all of them. It’s a reminder that we’re not all the same and that there is more ways than just one.

  3. Hi Sue,
    I read your article when it first came out. You left me thinking about myself and my colleagues around me, past and present. I think many people enjoy performing self-analysis tests. It can lead to a lot of inner reflection and professional reflection about how to incorporate the skills of those around us. However, I was disturbed by this educator test. You probably can pinpoint which one or two I may belong to. What bothers me is the fact that educators have a direct effect on children ages 3 to 18+. Teachers positively and/or negatively impact a child’s desire to participate in his/her education, build confidence and strive to achieve goals. Therefore, to foster a love of learning in a welcoming atmosphere, should not all educators belong to the idealist or practitioner group to some degree?

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it! Your idealism is definitely coming out in your thoughts – something that is always demonstrated in your teaching. And I agree that to be really effective, we need to reflect on our learning, how we influence our students and how we can be better. I know you strive for that.

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